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Xeriscape: Your Water-Efficient Garden

The Wallingford Water Division wants to help residents save water outdoors with low-water-use garden designs.

Using seven basic principles of sound landscaping practice, a homeowner can manage and enjoy an investment in a beautiful and drought-tolerant garden environment. The benefits to the gardener include the ease and pleasure of a healthy, natural environment and reduced water and sewer bills compared to conventional landscaping.

The community is served when natural ecosystems of the area are preserved, including habitat for a valuable wildlife population. Birds, bees, and butterflies, as well as the food chain that they are part of, contribute to the health and beauty of the neighborhood.

The Town water utility is able to reduce its costs of operations and improve its service to all customers because water supply demands during peak hours of operation are reduced with efficient irrigation practices.

Planning and Design: A good design aims to produce the highest quality landscape at the least possible cost with limited maintenance and water requirements.

Limited Turf Areas: Formally maintained and irrigated turf areas create the highest water use in landscapes. Physically limiting the square footage of turf to areas of functional use or to areas near entryways or other locations with frequent visual contact is an easy, quick way to reduce water need without sacrificing important visual impact.

Efficient Irrigation: Irrigating turf areas separately from other plantings and separating high-water-use plantings from low-water-use plantings can be effective in saving water and in producing better quality plants.

Soil Improvements: Soil improvements, based on site-specific soil analysis, promote moisture penetration and retention and make maximum moisture available for plant intake.

Use of Mulches: Properly used, mulches benefit the landscape by reducing water needs, reducing weed growth, cooling the soil, preventing erosion, and providing visual interest.

Appropriate Maintenance: Routine maintenance keeps landscapes at peak attractiveness and helps reduce water use. Weeding, proper pruning, and irrigation-system adjustment are some maintenance practices that help reduce demands for water.

Plant Selection: Native and naturalized plants will survive on natural precipitation or with minimal amounts of supplemental irrigation. They provide insurance against loss of plant material during drought or other water supply crises and reduce the need for water on an ongoing basis.

For more information on outdoor water conservation contact Pat Crabtree at 203-949-2672.